Howitzer Dragon Cannon Tutorial: Part 2

…continued from Howitzer Dragon Cannon Tutorial: Part 1.

Step 9: Make a new layer called Charcoal above the Sketch layer but below all of the painted layers.  Select the Charcoal brush and a charcoal pencil variant and fill in the outlines to add definition.  Feel free to leave some areas on the outside without charcoal.

Add a new layer called Dragon Details above Dragon Overpaint and below Cannon Underpaint.  Select the FX brush and the glow variant and a very light yellow, almost white.  Adjust the opacity to your liking but keep it pretty light, don’t overdo it.  Now, like you would with an airbrush, add some shine to that dragon!  Remember, it’s not supposed to look like a living dragon, it’s metal painted to look like a dragon, so it should be shiny.  Notice I’ve added the shine to areas that would be hit with direct light along the curves, like where the fringe folds back and along the body and tail of the dragon.  It’s starting to make the skin look iridescent.

Step 10: To make those spokes really shine, start with making a Cannon Detail layer.  Load your selection of the spokes in the Sketch layer and go back to Cannon Detail.  Now use the FX brush and glow variant and widen the size of the brush.  Make broad zig-zag stokes across the spokes, and voila!  Repeat as necessary on different areas of metal to show they aren’t all on exactly the same plane.

To create very light outlines around the edges of the spokes, use the Pen tool and draw along those edges.  Then select a thin brush with 100% opacity and a light yellow.  Click Align to Path in the upper left of the toolbar and draw with your paint brush along the path you drew with the pen.

To create round-headed nails, make just one with three gold colors ranging from dark to medium to light with a small opaque brush.  Start with the middle color and then add a dark and light side to it (light side on the left, where the light would hit it).  Now use the Oval Selection tool and copy and paste it repeatedly along the wood supporting the cannon and where each spoke meets the wheel.

Step 11: Repeat the selection process for the sections of the barrel of the cannon that will now be painted with fire.  Do not select the separations between the segments of the barrel.  Create a new layer called Flames and begin painting there.  Remember that fire goes from blue to red to yellow in order of intensity, so start with blue at the base of the dragon’s mouth where it would be hottest.  Don’t worry about being all that realistic, it’s supposed to look like paint.  Go wild with it!

If you decide that you’ve chosen colors that were just too bright and overpowering for the whole piece, like I did, then there is something you can do to fix that.  Go to Effects:Tonal Control:Brightness/Contrast and adjust them.  Lowering the brightness and contrast should help the fire painting blend with the rest of the dragon.

Now, keep those selections open, we’re going to add dimension to the flames.  Select the soft airbrush variant of the Airbrush bush and the darkest grey you’ve used.  Select size 40 and 10% opacity.  Lightly brush the bottom and top of the barrel and the inside of the dragon’s mouth, more so on the very bottom edge.  Then, switch to one of your lightest white-yellows and make no more than two strokes over the middle of the barrel to give it the flames a shine.  Now it should look like this:


Step 12: This step is optional.  You can sign your painting by making a new layer called Signature.  Then draw or type your name and position it where you like.  If you want, you can rotate your signature by going to Edit: Transform: Rotate; or Edit: Free Transform, hold down on Command and rotate by the corner of the selection.

If you would like the see the final piece, you can visit it in my portfolio here!  And if you liked this tutorial, please comment and share it!